January 31, 2010

Plan D

So — as I have discussed at length elsewhere — following thesis-completion in December I felt pretty grotty. And though I've been on an undeniable upward trend since then, the grottiness has continued, on and off, and so eventually I decided to go to the doctor about it.

The doctor in Edinburgh was fairly sanguine about the whole thing, but did a blood test and asked me to repeat it once I was back in Boston. So I did, and the doctor here, convinced there was some more sinister diagnosis to be made, took several extra litres of blood (it felt that way, anyway) and finally pronounced last week that the problem was likely a vitamin deficiency — specifically vitamin D, of which apparently I had the lowest level she had ever seen.

Now, my first reaction was something like, "Pfft, you should try practising medicine in Scotland for a few years, lady." But then she sent me a copy of the report and a prescription for ultra-strength D supplements, and since then I have been forced to reconsider that knee-jerk reaction (emphasis on the jerk), for two reasons:

1. The normal range of vitamin D (at least, according to the lab that did the testing) is 20–100 ng per mL of blood, with anything below 30 being cause for concern, and anything below 20 being, by definition, deficient. My level (and I still find this simultaneously hilarious and terrifying) was 4, which makes it sound as if I should have been dead or something — and I'm sure is worse than even the pastiest of Scots.

2. I took the first of my prescription-strength supplements yesterday (N.B. they are so strong I am to take only one PER WEEK), and MAN!, I feel fucking fantastic! The stuff is like liquid sunshine! I cheerfully walked two miles home last night, at 1 a.m. and in well-below-freezing weather, bouncing to my iPod the whole way and ready, at the end, to walk five more. And this was after two hours at capoeira in the afternoon, too! I haven't been so chipper in weeks — in fact, I was so perky yesterday that Mallory asked what I'd taken.

Well, the answer is: VITAMIN D! Glorious, better-than-sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll vitamin D! Huzzah and hurrah and long may it grace my bloodstream!

I think this is a sign I should move to a sunnier climate.


Anonymous said...

I take 1000 UID (is that the unit?) per day in the winter, or at least I try to. I probably end up taking 4000/week.

So I'm curious... how much are your super pills?


Andrew said...

50,000 units per pill! True story.

BJ said...

Wow! That is a surprising amount.

Anonymous said...

When I was about 9 years old, this friend and I used to play a game. If we were standing in the sun, I'd yell, "We're going to get skin cancer!" and we'd run screaming into the shade. Then she would yell, "We're not getting enough vitamin D!" and we'd run screaming back into the sun. Repeat ad nauseum. Awesome game.


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